Whenever I’m feeling uninspired with my closet I always go back to the basics. I think about what I would wear if I was in Paris and lean into the staples that I love in my wardrobe. What I love about French girl style is it doesn’t try too hard. It’s classic and simple yet chic. It’s also formulaic once you have the right staples in your wardrobe.
Here are all my recommendations to build out a French inspired capsule wardrobe full of staples that’ll give you endless outfit opportunities. I hope you’ll enjoy this comprehensive list and keep scrolling for some additional outfit inspo using a lot of the pieces mentioned!
A trench coat.
A timeless trench will always be a good investment. I like to layer mine over my leather jacket when I am in Paris to handle the unpredictable weather in the Fall. The best styles out now include this one (it has nearly 100 positive reviews!), this one, this one & this one.
A striped tee.
I will never tire of striped tees as a base layer. I wear them solo or under blazers and tweed jackets. Try this style, this style, this style or this style. (Last two styles are 40% off today!) I own black & white stripe, navy & white stripes and red & white stripes.
Speaking of layering pieces, if you’re not yet on the bodysuit bandwagon, you’re missing out! I became obsessed last year with their ease of styling. I pop one on and then add my favorite blazer or tweed jacket and a pair of jeans and am out the door. My favorites are here, here & here and I size up in each to a Large.
A leather jacket.
If you want to get instant Parisian cool girl vibes, top your outfit with a leather jacket. I still wear my Vince leather jacket I bought back in 2014 so much. If you’re looking for a good investment of real leather, I suggest this style. Faux, affordable similar styles here, here and here.
I swear by my Common Projects as they are so sleek and go with everything from dresses to jeans. Sizing info, styling ideas and affordable alternatives can be found here. You’ll see these sneakers all over France. Parisians also love their classic Converses, too.
Wear everywhere skinny jeans.
By now you know my go-to, feel-like-a-million-bucks jeans are the AGolde Nico High Rise jeans. They are the most flattering fit on and so easy to style. I just bought the sister style and am equally as obsessed. They are a bit skinnier in the ankle and don’t have a button up fly and I know I’m going to wear them loads. Size 27 in both pairs.
I love the more casual vibes of my beloved Levi’s Straight Jeans styled in the above photos. French girls don’t really do distressed jeans but rather straight or kick flare or raw hems to add some edge to an outfit otherwise made up of classic pieces. I just bought this pair (size 27) and love them (40% off today and worn here). These are also a good option and here are more all under $100. Finally, a pair of black cropped jeans are a must. These are my favorite pair.
A timeless button down.
I have gotten more wear out of my Sezane button down (size 40) than I could have ever imagined. It is so timeless in style and such high quality that it wears well time after time. I love it tucked under jeans or into midi skirts or work pants. Super French in style is also this oversized button down I own in a Small that goes so well with jeans and ponte pants (see below) but also layers under sweaters and blazers well. I also really love the Everlane silk blouse for layering under sweaters.
A go-to sweater.
I believe in investing in quality cashmere sweaters that you can wear over and over again without much upkeep (poor quality cashmere will pill easily). My Equipment cashmere is the best and I will swear it is worth every penny given how well it has held up year after year. (I bought black in 2014 and gray in 2015 and they are both in excellent, like-new condition!) It perfectly layers under blazers and coats and also goes great with jeans or tucked into skirts.
For a more affordable option, this Everlane one fits the bill but you will have to remove pills after a lot of wear. This one is also a favorite of mine I wore so, so much all of last Fall & Winter. So cozy and so many of my girlfriends bought it last year after seeing me wear it so much. It looks great with jeans but is also chic layered with leggings. I’ll soon have a comprehensive post up about all my favorite cashmere so stay tuned for that!
Flats you love and that are actually comfortable.
Look for comfortable yet timeless flats. I love ballet flats and own two pair from Chanel but for more affordable options I’d recommend include these, these or these and I own these and have worn them too many times to count.
A classic coat silhouette.
A classic car coat like this one from Gap is very French in style. I also love this one from J.Crew (40% off today – I bought the biscuit color!) These styles are timeless and make for stylish toppers that won’t tire season after season. I love it for layering over sweaters or even a leather jacket when you need extra warmth. Two other stylish options I found include this one and this one (I saw this at the brand’s pop up last week and the quality is really great for the price.) And finally this one from Madewell which just arrived to me in a size small (I got the black/gray) and I love. It is 30% off today.
A blazer to style often.
By now you know my love for the J.Crew Regent blazer. (40% off today). It is utterly timeless and has the best details to make it so flattering on. I wore it here, here. I own it in a size 6. Want some more color or texture in your wardrobe? Here are some great plaid blazer options.
A tweed jacket.
I love tweed jackets as a counterpart to my favorite blazers. The one I’m styling above is such good quality for the stellar price. (Wearing a size Medium). I have gotten SO much use out of it since purchasing it for my Paris trip last October. I also just bought this one. I can’t wait to wear it! I bought the size 6. Also like this one that is a bit dressier.
The Talbots Essex pants I wore here have to be one of the most versatile yet comfortable little black pant I’ve ever worn. Can’t recommend them enough. The 4 fit me perfectly. Pair them with a blazer or button down untucked or an oversized cashmere sweater. I also love the J.Crew everyday pant and the Ann Taylor legging pants I wore in this post.
A staple loafer.
A comfortable heel.
The Sarah Flint Perfect Pump are so comfortable that you won’t wince at the idea of wearing a heel. I styled them two ways here and you can use code MEGHAN for $50 off your first pair. Another favorite pair with darling detail are these Talbots bow heels. So comfortable and the perfect heel height for trotting around. And finally I love my Chanel slingbacks that I’m wearing in the above photos (affordable version here) and these kitten heels that were one of the best shoes purchases I’ve ever made (sized down half a size to 6.5). I can walk so much in all of these pairs which makes each worth every penny.
A practical bag.
I love a fit-all tote and my latest obsession is the Everlane Soft Day Tote. I got it last month and love it. Fits a lot and is buttery soft and moldable. Still sturdy enough for me to carry around my laptop, too. Shown here.
I’ve decided I’m never buying other t-shirts after falling in love with Cuyana’s classic tees. The fit and quality is so good and they don’t stretch out despite loads of wear + washing. (I wash on cold and dry on low heat and have had no issues with shrinking). I wear them in a medium and own both the white and black. These are the best tees you can buy in my opinion. Recently styled here.
Simple yet striking jewelry you won’t tire of.
I am a big fan of subtle, dainty and feminine jewelry. Earrings like this, this, this, this, this, this or this and a necklace like this or this will ensure you have things you can wear all the time and won’t tire of easily. And here is my favorite simple timepiece that I wear everyday with this bracelet.
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Some MORE outfit inspo: